The following is a guest post by Jesse Freund of LandingPower.com. Jesse has been active in the affiliate marketing world since 2008 and has had plenty of experience catering to the needs of affiliate marketers. LandingPower.com is a great option for high quality design needs.
For the past few years, I’ve worked as a designer catering specifically to the needs of affiliates. You’d think the process would be very straight forward, but in reality, there are practices one should use to ensure the end result is a success and that money isn’t wasted. Today, I’ll give you some pointers when you work with a designer.
Don’t Be Vague
First thing’s first: you’re the affiliate, not the designer. If I had a nickel for every time I was told, “I need a high converting landing page” or “I need a banner that has a high CTR“, I’d be rich enough to sit around all day on a yacht surrounded by Brazilian models.
OBVIOUSLY, one would want a high converting landing page, or a banner that gets a high CTR. Before you said that, I wasn’t going into the project thinking, “I’m going to design a landing page with a moderate conversion rate so this guy will never come back“. Now granted, there are certainly practices that help increase conversions and CTR. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be specific. You’re still the affiliate, so it’s important to use your expertise based on the traffic you’re targeting and other factors to offer the designer a clear idea of how to maximize conversions and CTR.
So, here’s an example of being vague:
“I’d like to promote this dating offer, here’s the offer URL. Please create a high converting landing page that matches the offer.”
Finch: Have you hacked in to my sent messages? This is uncanny.
While this wouldn’t result in a complete travesty, it would result in a very generalized result since you failed to offer any specific taglines, or any specific qualities (example: I’d like an area for geo-targeting, I’d like to target ages 40 and older, etc.)
Now, let’s look at an example of how to properly convey an idea. We’ll stick with a dating niche:
“I’d like to promote this dating offer to black males, and I’m targeting ages 30+. After researching, I’ve noticed images with older women seem to convert better, so I’ve attached the images I’d like to use. I also have included the code for a geo-tracking script I’d like to use, which should be easy for me to adjust. The color scheme should be light and should match the offer page with blue as the base color. All text should be editable in HTML so I can test different terms.”
See the difference? This was only a generalized example of how specifics can really change the outcome of a page. Depending on the designer, had age range or specifics not been mentioned, you may have received a layout with stock photos that end up looking unrealistic and lowering CTR. Without mentioning you wanted a geotracking script up front, you may have received a layout where adding it as an afterthought would offset the whole design.
There are ways to even go further beyond, such as offering a wireframe, specific examples, etc. Designers should be thought partially as an extension of yourself, to be used to bring your idea to fruition.
Now that we’ve been through how important it is to be specific about what you want, we’ll go through the steps you should’ve taken before ordering.
1. First, do some research. Try to figure out which pages are converting. If you see ads for a long time for a specific offer or page, you can assume it’s doing ok, otherwise money wouldn’t be wasted on testing it any longer. Make a list of pages you think are doing well, and/or build your own wireframe from certain elements of each page for the designer.
2. Decide on the specifics, from color scheme, to taglines and copy. Again, YOU’RE the affiliate. It’s up to you to think up those winning taglines that ensure the offer or product is going to sell.
Now, depending on the designer, there will be a varying level of affiliate marketing knowledge, so it doesn’t hurt to ask for advice, but it would be foolish to rely completely on a designer because you have then forfeited control over your potential success or failure. Even when starting out, you need to trust yourself with thinking up ways of selling your offer or else you’ll never learn what works and what doesn’t.
3. Provide as much as you can. Design is based partially on personal taste. What you think is a good image to use, may vary from what the hired designer thinks is good. With that said, you should certainly include as much as you can in terms of logos, stock photos, etc. This will ensure that your design uses as many elements to your liking as possible.
4. Be positive about your offer. If you’re promoting an offer, be certain it’s actually a high converting offer. When it comes time to order a landing page, for example, you’ll want to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. That means if you hire a designer to make a design that is tailored specifically for an offer that doesn’t end up converting, you’ve just lost not only the funding spent on testing but also the cost of the design. Sometimes you’ll have a landing page with a great CTR but if the actual offer doesn’t convert, it means nothing, so be sure.
Finally, it’s time to order!
Once you’ve gotten all your info together, it’s time to get the ball rolling. I’d say it’s pretty much down hill from here (we hope), but let’s go over a few things to keep in mind during the actual process of having a design put together.
Have a good attitude. If the roles were reversed, how would you feel having to deal with someone that easily gets frustrated and offers rude responses instead of constructive criticism? I’m sure you’d be trying to get the job done as fast as possible with little to no consideration for detail or going that extra mile to please someone that was respectful and well mannered.
Sometimes coming up with a winning design can be a frustrating process, but there are worse things in life, so take a deep breath and keep your composure so you can focus on success, rather than risking arguing that will ultimately only result in a waste of time.
Offer constructive criticism. Sometimes I’ll get a response that’s simply, “No, sorry, I don’t like this.” That does nothing to help either one of us. An example of what DOES help, would be something like, “I’d like the blue header to be red, the text to be a little smaller, and I’d like you to use this image instead.” Basically, be specific about what you don’t like, rather than lazily responding under the assumption that the next revision will miraculously be the design of your dreams.
You’ll be able to tell right off the bat if the designer is even capable of doing something close to what you have in mind. In the case of them possessing the skills but not having a solid understanding of your specific idea, take a time out and draw up a wire frame or find an example that’s 80-90% of what you have in mind. We designers are visual people, so a picture is worth a thousand words whereas an attempt at articulating your idea in an email may end up being worth only a misunderstanding.
Work towards functionality, not eye candy. I’m not saying you want a design that was sloppily thrown together, but it’s important to always keep your eye on the prize, which is conversions.
As a designer I’ll come across an affiliate that’s more interested in having something that “looks nice” rather than something that “performs nice”. New affiliates would be surprised to see some of the pages that actually convert amazingly. If those pages were judged by their design, they would be among the worst, most repulsive creations to ever be uploaded via FTP.
The reason behind this is the fact that the average consumer has absolutely no concept of what good design looks like and only looks at a landing page in the most simplistic of ways. Keep yourself inside of your targeted consumer’s mind while working with a designer. A 50 year old consumer is going to interpret a design in a much different way than an 18 year old.
So there you have it. Before you risk wasting money on hiring a designer, work on making sure you’ll get the most out of your money while avoiding a nightmarish experience. I hope this will help you avoid wasting your money and time. Good luck!
Recommended This Week
Now that you know how to get the most bang for your buck out of a designer, hit up Jesse’s LandingPower.com for a wide selection of rather swanky lookin’ design services.
Be sure to check out Adsimilis, the official sponsor of Premium Posts Volume 5 & 6. Adsimilis is one of the most effective networks in the world for a CPA marketer to sink his teeth in to. They are particularly dominant in the dating vertical, with industry leading payouts. If you are a dating affiliate, you need to be on Adsimilis. Simples.