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Home Affiliate Marketing Blog Relevance – the seemingly obvious but often forgotten rule of marketing

Relevance – the seemingly obvious but often forgotten rule of marketing

Relevance – the seemingly obvious but often forgotten rule of marketing

"Hello and welcome to Best Buy, would you like to see our selection of pineapples?"

Would you ever expect to walk into an electronics store only to have them offer you a great deal on fruit?

How about going to the local gas station to find them offering you the best designer fashion? (Exxon Versace?)  Sounds absurd right? Of course it does! But it's no less absurd if you do it online!

I am officially sick to death of irrelevant advertisements on websites. If I go to a site that is about learning to play guitar - on what planet is the webmaster on to think that I, at this moment, am looking for new apps for my (nonexistent I might add with only a slight hint of resentment) iPhone?

Not only am I incredibly unlikely to click on this ad, but the entire user-experience of the website has been ruined.

At Affilorama, we often talk about creating niche websites. What is a niche? A niche is a small subset of the market that is interested in one very specific thing. It might be a certain problem that needs solving, or a specific need that needs satisfying.

Relevance could not be more important in niche websites, because the person is likely to be there for one reason. If you have a website about curing acne - then what's the point in having anything on that website that isn't about curing acne? You can have as much information as you want about different subtopics of acne - prevention of acne, types of acne, causes of acne. You can even have topics that are related - dealing with other skin blemishes or marks, scars, etc. But an ad for "clean your computer's registry today!" - Not so much.

Now often when people are starting out in online marketing, they are so focused on making money any way they can with their website that they try to cram as many different monetization methods into the site as possible. Unfortunately, this often leads to completely irrelevant ads and pages on an otherwise good site.

A few months back I had a person come to me saying that they couldn't understand why they weren't making any money as they had good traffic coming to their site, and it was starting to rank for keywords. But when I had a look through the sites - the only means of monetization were ads to products that weren't at all relevant to the topic of the site.

Remember, you are free to set up a website on any topic you wish if you're interested in it - and I suggest you do! Websites like that can be an enjoyable hobby. But if you're trying to make money, then you have to think things through a little more. Having great website content doesn't matter if you've got no way of monetizing the traffic that comes through.

Now if you want to dabble into a new niche, great! Just don't put it on your old website! There's nothing stopping you creating multiple niche websites. Hosting that allows you to have multiple websites is very cheap, and domains are typically around $10-$15. You'll have two relevant, money-making websites rather than one confusing dud.

Another big mistake newbies can make in this same vein is that they distract visitors from the primary objective - i.e. buying a product through an affiliate link. Adsense is a great example of this. While Adsense is a great way to monetize pages that have high traffic but no other form of monetization, they're a very bad idea for many affiliate sites. If someone's come to your affiliate page, why would you want to give them any other options but clicking on your affiliate link? What would you rather have - a 50% commission on a $39.95 product or a few cents from a click on an Adsense ad?

People often put multiple monetization methods on a page because they hope that when someone comes to their site they'll click on at least one of them - but more often than not, the user will end up clicking none of them.

This is because it's very important to give users a logical path in your site - one that ultimately leads them to buying something. While you don't want to restrict their movements (another mistake), you want all paths to lead in the same direction - and you certainly don't want to actively distract people from that goal.

Here are a few key points for keeping your site on-topic and your sales path un-distracted.

  • Remember your main goal is to sell: we often advise creating great free information resources like articles and newsletters - but this is a means to an end. You want this to lead in the direction of a sale (without being overly promotional). Giving away a ton of free information and having no obvious next step for someone to buy something is, while altruistic, not going to make you money in a hurry.


  • Think like your customer: what is someone coming to your site looking for? Where do they want to go and what do they want to find? The biggest mistake any marketer can make is assuming that their customer thinks like they do, wants what they want and acts like they act. For the purpose of marketing, assume you are the strangest person on the planet (granted I find that a little easier) and you have to research and find out how other people are going to think and act about things.


  • Draw it up: Draw a rough diagram that shows how people might be entering your site and where you want them to go. If you have an existing site, then Google Analytics is great for identifying the top entry paths for visitors - if you're building a new site, then you're free to plan as you wish. Just remember - someone arrives at your site for a specific reason, e.g. you have an article that interests them. How, with the least amount of distractions and fewest clicks can you take them from where they are to buying a product or, if you want a softer approach, signing up for your newsletter?


So please - no more pineapples in the electronic store! Keep things relevant and you'll keep visitors on the track to sales.

12 Comments Add your comment
  • Reply jarded853650 days ago

    This is certainly a post many of us need to hear. I'll add to the post by saying that the sight of multiple ads , regardless of whether they are relevant or not, is very off-putting. I've lost count of the number of times I've browsed away from sites offering some great content, but terrible layout in terms of ad layout, density and even presence!

    This is a great post. Keep up the good work

  • Reply mastercands3650 days ago

    "Remember your main goal is to sell" - That is a phrase that we need to focus.

  • Reply Jon Pastorizo3648 days ago

    Hi Chris,

    I agree with you for the most part regarding relevancy. However, isn't there any exception to this?

    I have heard that some affiliates marketing in the dating/how to get a girl niche advertise on content network on the gaming and tech websites. They distract the site visitor with their ads (although not related) and they do this because the profile of people they are targeting are the ones who are "nerdy" (No offense meant to anyone reading this. I just read this somewhere.), those ones who spend most of their time on computers and have no time for women but would love to get one.

    I'd like to get you view on this.


  • Reply Chris Goddard3648 days ago

    Hi Renato - great comment. You're right - there can be times when you can make some assumptions about the people who will be visiting a particular page and show them other ads that would be relevant to them.

    Don't worry - most of the people I know that hit those gaming websites don't have too much problem with being called "nerdy"...

    I think the important part is keeping things relevant to the visitor. Websites that just display any old ad are distracting and frustrating - they can even be insulting. But relevant overlapping interests - definitely!

    It's the same principle of TV advertising - people aren't watching TV looking to be sold to, but advertisers target people according to the kinds of shows they watch. For example the car show "Top Gear", advertisers wanting to target 18-45 year old men would likely want to target this time slot. (Not saying women don't like Top Gear - I know plenty - but they're not the primary audience)

    The biggest thing to remember is, ads will always be more effective if they're about something the person has already displayed an interest, or is already looking for. Even if I'm interested in weight loss products - if at this moment I'm interested in finding a new computer utility, then I don't want to be distracted by something else - even if I am interested in it.

    Biggest thing is to use your discretion and judgement for when this is appropriate.

  • Reply Jon Pastorizo3648 days ago

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your detailed answer. I am sure a lot of your readers will appreciate it.

    There are always good things to learn that's why I always enjoy reading the blog posts here in Affilorama.

    Keep up the great work!


  • Reply James Pruitt3648 days ago

    it all comes down to knowing your market and what they would be interested in. Look at everything from the visitors point of view.

    Recently saw a site targeted to men with adds for designer handbags. Most of the guys I know who would be interested, would never be on that sight.

  • Reply william eckard3648 days ago

    Couldn't agree more with your article Chris. Nothing that ticks me off more than a cluttered site, let alone irrelevant content!.
    Just on webhosting, remember that premium members of Affilorama enjoy free webhosting. I have just set up my first one thanks!

    For those interested, I see that has a special - 30% off on domain registration. Without knocking them, talk about a busy site (although content is relevant). I ended up going back
    to namecheap, paying the regular price. So, apart from having relevant content, one's site should also be a pleasant experience and easy to navigate through.

    Thanks for the article Chris


  • Reply Elizabeth • 3646 days ago

    I must admit, I would be highly amused if Best Buy offered to show me their selection of pineapples--but that is besides the point. ;)

    Having relevant ads and content on your website is not only important so you don't annoy your customers but it is also crucial to having good search engine rankings. Unrelated content will turn away potential and current customers.

  • Reply hans dekker3642 days ago

    I fully agree with what you say, I'm not buying a dishwasher at a pineapple store either. But there is a but :-) People interested in Pineapples can have a more than average interest in learning Spanish.

    Strange as it may seem, Rocket Spanish converts really well on my gardening site, and it is doing a whole lot better then the more obvious tomato and shed products. Quantcast is a great place to find more information about the interests your visitors have.


  • Reply Nyerni A Ruletten • 3626 days ago

    Great idea, thanks for this tip!

  • Reply rolette system • 3605 days ago

    Damn, that sound's so easy if you think about it.

  • Reply Ruletní systém • 3604 days ago

    Sometimes it's really that simple, isn't it? I feel a little stupid for not thinking of this myself/earlier, though.

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