It is no secret that in affiliate marketing text links generally convert significantly better than banner links. Also, when it comes to text links, it is easy for an affiliate to split-test different text variations (improving conversions) on their end without getting the merchant involved in the process at all.
But what do you do if a merchant has an extensive banner inventory (leading to various sections of their website), but very basic text links (with only one lander — their homepage)? Or what if the merchant has a graphic coupon link, but you would much rather have a text link for that coupon instead?
Sadly, it frequently takes quite a bit of time (and patience) to get a reply from a merchant [see this case study, for example], but when you need that text link, you normally need it now, and not whenever the affiliate manager sees your email, and/or finds the time to react to it.
The truth of the matter is that you actually don’t have to wait on the manager, but can easily convert pretty much any link into a text link within seconds by grabbing the affiliate code from inside the existing link’s code, and stripping it of everything but the URL code itself. Below you may see how to do it on two different affiliate networks: ShareASale, and Commission Junction — with banners and coupon graphic. The principle is simple (it’s all about a basic understanding of the HTML code you’re working with), and can be applied virtually with any affiliate network-based or in-house based affiliate program.
ShareASale (banner to text link)
- Go to the merchant’s banner selection
- Click the [Get this Banner’s HTML Code] link under the banner link that lands where you want your text link to land
- There you will ll see a code (with your affiliate ID already embedded into it) which will look something like this: <a target=”_blank” href=”http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1234567&u=123456&m=12345&urllink=&afftrack=”><img src=”http://www.shareasale.com/image/12345/88×31.gif” border=”0″></a>
- Strip the above code of everything but the link: http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1234567&u=123456&m=12345&urllink=&afftrack= (where “b=” stands for the banner ID, “u=” for your own affiliate ID, while “m=” for the merchant ID)
- Use the above-quoted URL with any text link you want. Yes, you can word your text link whichever way you want, and as long as you link through the URL retrieved via the above-described way (either from a banner, or from a coupon with an image, or any other type of link), everything will track perfectly
Commission Junction (coupon creative to text link)
- Pull links “By Promotion” and choose “Coupons”
- Click the “Get HTML” link in the far right hand column corresponding to the coupon lander you want to link to
- In the “Code” window you’ll see a code that will look something like this: <a href=”http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-1234567-12345678″ target=”_top”>Use Coupon Code FREESHIP and Receive Free Shipping from…</a><img src=”http://www.awltovhc.com/image-1234567-12345678″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″/>
- Strip it of everything but the link: http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-1234567-12345678
- Use the URL as you please
LinkShare has a “Deep Linking” tool (retrievable via the “Links” tab), AvantLink has a “Custom Link Tool” (retrievable via the “Tools” menu link), Google Affiliate Network has a “Build Your Own Link” option (you can pull it up by clicking the “Actions” button next to the advertiser of choice)… These often make things even easier. My above ShareASale example is an example only, as ShareASale too has a similar tool which can be used by going to the “Create a Custom Link to a Page” link under the “Get Links” menu. But in many cases tools like this won’t be available, and understanding basic things like the structure of the code you’re using for affiliate links will help you become more flexible and competitive than those affiliates that don’t bother looking into the details (however simple they may be – even for the understanding by non-technical people).