I was speaking to some dude pushing Resveratrol the other night. He seemed paralyzed with fear that somebody had performed a WHOIS lookup on his anti-aging domain. The woman decided to drop him an email about the product, asking whether it really worked, what else she could do to look like she’d fallen back in to 1998, and a bunch of other shit. Well the affiliate (who’s a decent guy), crapped bricks and saw the idea of replying as a marketing sin.
First of all, it’s always a good idea to purchase private registration on any domain that you intend to use for affiliate marketing. I learnt the hard way when my very first domain for a Google bizopp was uncovered. Inevitably, my email was leaked to a bunch of complaint filing dinosaurs who’d make the Warrior Forum look appealing in comparison. I still get requests for refunds emailed to me. It’s a pain in the ass. Go for private registration – there’s normally a coupon floating around for Name Cheap which gives you a couple of dollars off. Use it and save yourself the bother of forwarding 500 emails a day to a sketchy advertiser.
Anyway, it seems that some affiliates are quite happy to promote a product to the stratosphere on their blogs and flogs. But when it comes to dealing with customer inquiries face-to-face, they freeze up and their hard sell deserts them. I think it’s probably a guilt issue. This guy is a solid affiliate turning over a lot of revenue, so it came as a bit of a surprise to me that he hadn’t dealt with prospects directly.
Nobody promoting a rebill wants to personally persuade a customer in to signing up for an offer that’s going to flatter to deceive at the very best. The way I see it, if you’re going to promote a rebill, you might as well be good at doing it. Grow some balls and close the sale before another affiliate does it for you. When a customer innocently mistakes you for an expert in your field, do some Wikipedia research, give them the time of day, and complete the sale.
I’m not actively promoting rebills at the moment, but when I have in the past, I’ve always placed a contact form on my site. Some affiliates see this as asking for trouble. I see it as opening as many avenues possible for sealing a sale.
More recently, I’ve gone one step further and added a phone number to some sites. I realize a lot of affiliates would never agree in a million years to reveal their first names let alone a phone number that works. It’s just a recipe for 24/7 distractions and angry misled customers, right?
Well, not exactly. You can snap up a virtual phone number on Skype for something ridiculous like a few bucks per month. Setup an individual account for your site and get yourself on Elance.
Hire somebody who sounds remotely professional. Give them a simple script of dialogue. Get them to record a message and use it as your Skype voicemail (doesn’t have to be Skype). What’s important is that you design the voicemail message to act as a call to action.
When somebody stumbles across your site and decides to get in touch over the phone, your voicemail will specifically request that they leave their email address. It might even push them on to a second tier website (if you’re smart, this website will be the sort of thing that an Adwords intern would slap you for). You might not think that such a long-winded tactic is very likely to accumulate a profitable number of leads, but go try it.
Most people won’t bother because there’s too many stages attached.
Get a Skype number? “Can’t be bothered.”
Hire somebody on Elance? “Too much work.”
Chase up leads? “Who do you think I am?”
Truth be told, you probably don’t need to bother. But if you start thinking outside the box, you can be more than the one trick pony that most affiliates are when it comes to capturing leads.
Offline marketing opens up a whole new world of untapped potential. A phone number can go a long way when you wade in to those waters.
Ever found yourself staring at Gumtree or Craig’s List thinking “if only I could get my wang in to that”? Well maybe you could if you stopped thinking linkbait and started thinking individual leads and individual needs.