“The point of the headline is to get your reader to read the first sentence.
The point of the first sentence is to get your reader to read the next sentence.”
Copywriting for affiliate marketing is an essential skill if you wanna make it in this industry.
Imagine a random woman is surfing Facebook and sees your ad.
You’re asking them to pull out their credit card, give away some personal information, or sit there and watch a long video (Some of those Clickbank offers can feature 40+ minute long videos)
Those are some huge actions you’re asking a person to take. The only way to convince them on the internet is to use great copywriting.
Copywriting is using words to convince people to take some form of action.
Think about your affiliate marketing funnel.
You need great headlines if you want them to click (and the higher your click-through rates, the lower your cost per click).
You need great landing page copy if you want them to take action on the offer.
Becoming a better copywriter means you’ll have better landing pages, ads, and angles over your competition.
This means you get cheaper clicks, and more conversions.
All of this gives you an edge to become more profitable.
I’ve read 40+ copywriting books and have written ads / landing pages over the past 9 years.
You’re going to get the 80/20 of what I’ve learned in this article.
Understand Who Your Target Market Is
Get to know the VERTICAL you are working in first. I can’t stress this enough.
Later on you can narrow in on specific offers, but getting into the right mindset for your vertical is key.
This sounds like an old marketing concept, but it’s still valid for affiliates.
The more you discover about your vertical, the more pain points you discover that you can use in your copy.
Here are some steps I take to get to know my target marker / vertical better:
- Google the offer name – see what comes up and use the results to dictate what you need to emphasize in your copy. There might also be testimonials you can use, or sticking points people have which you can address in your copy.
- Find a popular forum in that vertical. This is YOUR customers interacting with each other sharing their own problems. Forums are a gold mine of information about the vertical you’re working in.
- What are big companies doing in your vertical? You might be a small time affiliate right now, but there are billion dollar companies in most of the common CPA verticals – read some of their copy and study it. What are they doing that you can innovate on?
- Get to know the language. When you speak a common language, you build trust with your audience. For example, if you’re running weight loss offers, women often use the phrase “muffin top“. If you are in the “quit smoking” vertical, you want to use phrases like “cold turkey“
- Get the offer page translated and read it + go through the funnel yourself. Your affiliate manager can fire a conversion for you, then you can see what the whole funnel looks like. You might pick up on some extra pain points or benefits you can use in your copy that other affiliates missed.
- Research what locals are doing. What works well in the USA might not work well in the UK. So if you’re doing research on a market, make sure you’re looking at the right market. Use places, names, and products that are common in that area. The term for this is “hyper-localization”.
- Interview your target customer. This is something you could do if you already have a good campaign, and you’re wanting to make it great.
- You could get someone to take a look at your landing page and ask them what they think.
- You could interview them and ask them about previous things they’ve tried and failed at.
- Ask them what their biggest reasons for not buying your product are (and then addresss these in your copy)
Writing The Headline
I love writing headlines because it’s the first thing that gets seen. If your headline doesn’t draw attention, nobody ever gets to read the content. Headlines are one of the “power variables” that can make a huge difference to the success of your campaign.
I’ve written about headline formulas and given you my top headline writing tips before, but here’s the 80/20:
- Use power words
- Compare your offer with other offers, or to not using your offer
- Ask a question
- Use some well-known headline formulas
- Use similar language to the reader
- Read Cashvertising & study it
- Address a strong pain point
- Write out your starting headline, then make 25 variations on it. You will eventually come up with great headlines when you drill down deeper into your brain.
The 9 Components of Profitable Copywriting for Affiliate Marketing
Copywriting is part science and part art.
The science is that there are certain components and strategies that almost ALL profitable copywriting includes.
The art is that there’s no guide to writing copy for the EXACT offer, market and industry you are working on. You have to use your skills, and tailor them to a slightly different variation each time.
In this section, I want to show you how I write copy and the reason WHY some of these components work.
#1 Benefits or Features?
I see a lot of online copywriting for offers where people talk about features.
Here’s a real life example of features vs benefits.
Nobody wants to hear about your features.
Hardcore enthusiasts often DO want to hear about features, but most affiliate marketing (especially mobile & native) is targeted to a more broad audience – NOT hardcore enthusiasts.
The only thing people care about is:
“What’s In It For Me?”
Benefits answer that question, features don’t.
Here’s an example using lead generation for finance:
Benefit: Get a $10,000 car loan paid into your bank TODAY
Feature: Loan money with interest rates from 5.19% APR over 30 months and $150 administration fee
Notice how the feature is “detail-heavy”?
It’s kinda boring, but if you were an extremely detail-oriented person, it would interest you…
But someone who is looking for money right now doesn’t want to hear the details.
They just want money right now.
Details come later in the process – your job is to sell the benefit, which in this case is money today. Our job is to drive leads, not to force the fine print onto people.
The actual offer page will have the details – you just want to generate interest and action.
#2 What’s the Benefit of the Benefit?
Let’s say you are promoting a weight loss offer.
What’s the benefit of weight loss?
For MOST people, it’s looking better. Some people do it for health, but 99% of marketing for weight loss is aimed at self-image.
Now, what’s the benefit of that benefit?
What’s the benefit of being better looking?
There are a ton – let’s brainstorm a few:
- You look better so you’ll get more girls
- Other guys will respect you more if you look like an athlete
- You’ll get more confidence, which will lead to more benefits
- You have more options for career choice (there are studies that show beautiful people do better financially)
- You’ll make the haters jealous
You can see that “looking better” is not the end result that people want.
You should use this for your offers.
Ask yourself what the benefit of your offer is, then ask “What’s the benefit of that benefit?”
This is what helps you to hit your reader at a more emotional level.
#3 Extreme Simplicity
A 6-year-old should be able to understand your copy.
There are different levels of literacy in every GEO, so don’t get too clever with your copy. If someone can’t understand your copy, they won’t buy.
I like to use hemingwayapp.com to test my copy. Make sure there are no red or yellow sentences when you run your copy through it.
This is especially true for shorter landing pages where your reader only spends a few seconds on your page.
#4 Power Words
Affiliates use these a lot.
It’s because there are word limitations in ads. A headline can only be so long, so you need to grab people.
What are power words?
Anything that snap people out of their daze and get them to sit up and pay attention.
As an example:
Shocking “Insider-Only” Cheatsheet Single Moms Are Using To Dissolve Stubborn Belly Fat
Sometimes it can sound over the top, but don’t think of it as being “over the top”. Think of it as being extremely descriptive so that you evoke strong feelings. This is something you’ll learn if you study Cashvertising.
Two people can tell the exact same story…
Person A can have the audience in fits of laughter, tears, and joy, while Person B puts the crowd the sleep.
Your competition is shouting… It’s not the time to be timid and shy when you write copy. We get one shot at a customer, so you have to WOW them.
Here’s a list of power words to get you started, but read Cashvertising for a complete list.
#5 Pain vs Pleasure
People don’t really buy when they are happy.
People buy because they want more, they want to grow, or change.
People buy because they want to keep up with the Joneses.
Instead of focusing all of your efforts on the positives, show people the negative side:
- What will happen if they don’t buy?
- How much will they lose out if they don’t buy your product?
- Is your customer feeling inferior?
I use this a lot in my campaigns.
If we’re promoting a lead gen offer for auto insurance, don’t just focus on the “peace of mind” angle.
- Talk about what would happen if they crash without insurance
- How much would that cost them?
- How much would it suck to hit a $400k Bentley?
#6 Call Out Your Customer
Most mobile affiliates have got this nailed down by using their tracker to dynamically insert tokens, but a lot of longer form copy lacks this.
You can pull a lot of information about your customer into your landing pages with a tracker such as their device, city, ISP or carrier, country, language etc.
Even if you aren’t using a tracker, you can still call out your visitor.
Use personal pronouns (I, you, him, us, we etc.)
People want to feel like a message is designed for them. This is why certain copywriting tactics such as “Us versus Them” work so well.
Give people the feeling that they are a part of something, that “you and them are fighting against a common enemy”. A lot of sales copy attacks “them”.
For example, often weight loss sales pages attack “them” who is the government. They talk about how the government makes a lot of money from big junk food companies and they don’t allow certain natural supplements to be subsidized.
Protip: Try making a customer avatar to show you how you can tailor your copy even more directly to your market.
#7 Address Objections in Advance
When people are reading your copy, they are thinking.
- They’re coming up with reasons why they shouldn’t buy
- They’re wondering who you are
- They are picking holes in your offer / copywriting
- They are thinking about what else they could spend their money on
- Also they’re thinking about what’s for dinner
Your sales letter probably sounds great to you, but how does it sound to a “normal person”?
Here are some of the most common objections people have (plus solutions):
- Problem: The product is too expensive
- Solution: You can use the “cost vs value” argument
- Problem: Customer is worried the product won’t live up to promises
- Solution: Offer a guarantee & show social proof that others have made it work
- Problem: Not sure if it’s right for them
- Solution: This is where calling out your user helps – they know it’s a good fit because you are targeting an exact personality
- Problem: People not sure “why” they should buy your offer NOW
- Solution: Have a sale, offer a limited-time discount, use scarcity and urgency
- Problem: Lack of trust
- Solution: Use some trust seals if they are allowed, and refer to social proof and testimonials
When you are writing copy, realize that most people want to be told what to do, but they don’t want to appear that way.
The more proof you can offer, the better.
You can never have too much proof.
#8 Use Stories to Sell
Nobody likes reading advertisements.
But EVERYBODY loves a good story.
For lower payout offers this might not be something you can use, but for higher payout offers with long sales pages, this works very well.
Storytelling is an art form, so you need to practice.
Here are some resources to learn more about storytelling:
If you look at some popular sales pages on Clickbank products, you can see their VSLs are much more of a story than an advertisement.
#9 Be Specific with Words and Numbers
The more specific you are, the more believable you are.
How many ads do you see on the internet saying “Make $500 per day trading stocks?”
Making exactly $500 sounds kinda stupid, it’s unbelievable.
$500 isn’t specific enough.
Here are two examples:
How I made $500 Yesterday Trading Stocks
How I made $432.65 Profit Yesterday By Shorting The S&P500 (SPY) Index Fund (including commission to my Citibank broker)
Which one sounds more believable?
People always want to know “how” things are done. That’s part of the reason why getting specific can boost your conversions.
Here are some more tips that will help boost your conversion rates:
- Use exact numbers. For example 10.6 lbs vs 10 lbs. 10.6 sounds like a scientific study ws conducted or real results. 10 sounds like a rough estimate, therefore not true.
- Talk about specific people, as well as people in general.
- Explain the “why” and the “how” in your copy (after you’ve hooked them with an amazing headline and intro). People are curious by nature – use this to your advantage by unraveling the details slowly.
The Close (aka Call To Action)
I wanna give you a couple of tips on your CTA.
First – your CTA button is NOT that important compared to the other tactics here.
Selling the customer before they get to that point IS the important part.
Most people who will buy have already made up their mind by this stage (if it’s long form copy).
Here are a couple of quick tips to help you supercharge your CTA:
- Customize the text – “Download” or “Click Here” might not be the best. Think about what would really make someone want to click your CTA. Check out these CTA examples to get you started.
- Make your images into clickable links that go to your offer (you can use software like Hotjar to see where people click on your pages)
- Put multiple CTAs throughout your copy, especially if it is long form. People are ready to buy at different stages.
- Make your CTA distinct from the rest of your page so it draws attention (color, border, text etc.)
- Write out classic sales letters by hand (I wrote some of the Halbert letters by hand)
- Read the books on copywriting I recommend on on my guide to start affiliate marketing.
Favorite Copywriting Books
Copywriting is Worth Learning
This is just an intro – it takes practice to get good at copywriting.
By “practice”, here’s what I mean:
- Write some copy
- Launch it
- See how it does
- Split test it against another version
Learn what works for your specific market.
Affiliates run offers for gaming, lead gen, vouchers, app installs, utilities, adult, e-commerce etc.
Each market has different styles of copywriting, and each market responds differently.
Copywriting is a skill that is worth learning and is something I don’t recommend outsourcing (at least at the start). Get good at it first, so when you do outsource it, you’re an expert and you can teach your young proteges how it’s done.
What other copywriting skills do you use for online sales?
If you enjoyed this article, gimme some social love and comment/share.
This took forever to write and I’m giving away all my secrets!