One of the big questions I see on affiliate marketing forums is how best to promote a product. I don’t believe that anybody making serious money is going to walk you through every last step necessary to trace down that answer. So you’re going to have to use your own testing. But it’s important, if nothing else, to appreciate the variety of marketing tactics out there.
Here are the main methods of promotion:
1. Classic sales letter
It’s been around as long as time, and it can still be as effective as it was on day one. Basically, you write a long ass letter throwing every last benefit of the product in the reader’s face – and explaining why it’s right for them. Popular practice includes bundling in freebies, capturing traffic with an opt-in and slowly lowering the price of the product – while increasing the value – as the page progresses.
2. Squeeze advertisement
Some landing pages are no more than large graphics with a bunch of bullet point benefits and a prominent call to action. These can be great for campaigns where you need to maximize the exposure to an offer – while still pre-selling with an intermediate page.
3. Review sites
Massively popular. Massively successful. It’s a wonder anybody takes review sites seriously with the sheer number of affiliates exploiting them in the market. You pick a couple of offers that you want to promote, you write positive reviews, you pack it all together as an expert authority review site. The success of these pages illustrates just how important the pre-sell really is.
4. The flog
Arguably the most effective promotion method in affiliate marketing. A flog is the name attributed to a “fake blog”. The best form of marketing in 2009 bar none is viral. Where the flog excels is in taking our consumer-to-consumer relations and exploiting them to develop trust in a product. Of course, the flog opens up a can of legal worms with false advertisement. So remember your disclaimers and don’t set out to scam.
5. Email opt-in
There are affiliate marketers who will dedicate their entire craft to harvesting emails and building lists. PPC, for them, is often focused on getting the email address rather than making a sale. It’s sensible when you think about it. How many people are going to snap up a product straight away? Even with a great offer and a greater pre-sell, you’re probably looking at 10% max. The email marketer prefers to have a POTENTIAL sale for life by opting-in the reader’s email. A lead for a lead if you will.
6. Direct linking
Conversions are typically much lower with direct linking. By sending the user through to the offer without pre-selling to them on an intermediate page, you’re hedging your bets that they’re in the mindset to buy. To have a hope of making this successful, you need killer ad copy and an offer that sells itself. You also need a strong grasp of tracking because most keywords WILL lose you money.
I’m of the opinion that ALL of these methods will work with ANY vertical – if you execute them correctly. Most people don’t, most people won’t.
Truth be told though, there’s nothing new or exciting about the tactics listed above. They’re all exploited to the limits of their potential. The best opportunities for success, in my opinion, come from combining the methods together. You’ve got to understand the attitude of a consumer before embracing that.
One of the most important skills in selling – not just online, but everywhere – is qualifying the customer. You have to understand that sales talk is everywhere. Even though you might THINK you’ve written the most convincing glowing review for a product under the sun, it’s likely that the customer has already earmarked another review to be read straight after yours. Why do you think we see conversions hitting 10% rather than 90%?
If you really want to get the biggest bang for your buck, you have to start branching out and aggressively pursuing every last customer that stumbles upon your landing page.
Whenever I’m promoting an offer, I like to consider the thought-cycle of the customer as he or she reads through the page. What’s going on in their minds? Don’t just think about the benefits that you’re throwing in their faces. That’s how a retard fails. More importantly, you have to ask yourself what’s STOPPING the customer from following through with that purchase.
So let’s take a review page as an example. You’ve just written a glowing article of how these acai berries really are the shit hottest acai berries going for 1.97 including shipping. Now what?
It’s a fact that most consumers don’t just like to read reviews. They like to compare reviews.
Don’t settle for leaving your sales pitch at a 10/10 rating and an affiliate link.
A neat trick that works for me is the integration of a flog with a review site. Most niches I work in, I’ve worked in long enough to develop all kinds of websites approaching the sale from different angles.
I’ve enjoyed good success with review sites, and good success with flogs. But where I’ve made the most money is in combining the two together and funneling my readers from an authority review to a convincing user related success story. The opportunities are endless when you get over the dumbass mindset that a conversion is won or lost on one page. It’s all about controlling the customer’s thought pattern.
Once they’ve read a positive review, they’re going to be thinking…”Hmm, I wonder if that would work for me?”. It’s a natural consumer response to go looking for case studies and similar success stories. I know damn well that a lot of readers will go straight back to Google and search for more information, no matter how hard you suck the merchant’s balls in your review.
One of the easiest ways of keeping a consumer is to offer that further information to them without the need to go back to Google. The more sites you feed them through, the better you can qualify them for the sale. Ask yourself what would force a customer to go back to Google and run another search, and then answer it for them with the next call to action.