When I first got into the online marketing scene back in late 2005, I immediately came out of the gate with my first product. To me, it seemed logical that having your own product line is ultimately the best way to build a business online… at least for me.
There’s tons of ways to make money online, including creating e-commerce stores, providing services to online & offline businesses, affiliate marketing, etc.
Well, in the beginning, I had no Idea how to market my product, so I stuck it on eBay & did quite well with it. This was when they allowed digital products.
In the mean time, I was also curious about affiliate marketing. The idea of putting up a review site with a couple affiliate links, then passively making money every month seemed very appealing.
No tech support, no dealing with refunds, none of the typical headaches that come with having your own products.
So like everyone else, I jumped onto the affiliate review sites & landing pages bandwagon. I put up my product reviews, pointing out how great product ‘X’ was and pointing my visitor to the affiliate link where they could make the purchase.
I remember after setting up my first affiliate review page thinking that the money was going to immediately start rolling in. I would check my email about every 10 minutes looking for that coveted “Congratulations! You Have Made a Sale” type email. Really! No kidding, almost every 10 minutes, heh heh!
Needless to say, that first day came & went, and so did the next… and the next. Hmmmm, maybe they don’t like the way I write? Does the product suck? But it’s a hot seller! So I started testing different variations of the review page.
Hmmmm, two weeks and counting – still no sale. Uggggh! I had already sold dozens of my own product, but nothing from these stupid affiliate products. Maybe affiliate marketing was just a crock.
About this time, I was ready to pitch the whole affiliate marketing thing out the window. Around this same time, I had injured 3 of my fingers pretty badly on a Skil saw, and they were sliced up pretty good. I had lost much of the feeling in them at the time. Because of this, I was interested in finding some type of skin cream that could help my fingers heal faster and maybe even minimize scarring.
So I did the next natural thing. I Googled for “best skin care for injuries” and many variations including keywords like “review”, etc.
Well, wouldn’t you know it. Every website I came across had affiliate reviews of how great THEIR product was. Hmmm. I didn’t put much credibility into it because I knew that they were probably just trying to get a sale.
I searched onward… Onward some more… and more! I must have went through a hundred results before I finally found ONE site that didn’t appear biased.
This site pretty much had a fact sheet format which did comparisons of different skin care products for fast healing & scar reduction. I was able to use this information to make an informed decision and I bought the product through their link.
YIKES! I suddenly had the “Duh!” moment when I realized how aggravated and frustrated I was getting, trolling hundreds of search results just to get some real info on what I needed.
I already had made my mind up that I wanted to buy, but I had to have real validation that my purchase decision was okay. I went back to my own affiliate review page and realized that it didn’t look any different in format that those other hundred sites that did absolutely nothing for me!
This time, I changed my landing page from a fluffy, feel good review, to an informative fact sheet, modeled after the website that I had purchased through. It wasn’t an exact copy of course, but by educating the customer in a complete non-biased fashion, using bullet points and snippets of customer reviews from other shopping sites (with credit back to them of course), I suddenly realized that this page was now an authority page, not a pre-sell.
This time I was excited again, but I didn’t check my email every 10 minutes like I did before. The next morning while checking my email, there it was… “You Have Made A Sale!”. I could hear the angelic music in the back ground as I clicked the email link.
I’ll never forget the excitement of my first affiliate sale and the valuable lesson I learned from that whole experience. I started to realize right then & there not to follow the herd. Do the opposite. As marketers, its easy to get so focused on making a landing page, and pushing your visitors to that affiliate link, that we forget about their real needs.
I have found that the real secret is to intercept the buyers. People who have already decided that they are going to buy. Generally, we need to validate our decision before pulling out the credit card and that’s where you should come in. No need for pre-sell, just the facts validating to your visitor that they had made the right decision, and now it’s time to click the link.
It’s brain dead simple. Not something the ‘gurus’ want you to know, LOL.
From that point on, I stayed in the affiliate marketing game which ultimately inspired my next product. That product was AmazingCloaker. Between the fact-sheet layout and the AmazingCloaker embedded-cookie feature, my affiliate projects became a whole new ballgame!