One mistake new affiliate marketers make time and again is thinking that their ‘product’ is the merchant’s product.
While one can certainly view their business from this perspective, it puts you in the mindset of ‘pushing the link’, rather than building a relationship with potential customers.
Super successful affiliates understand that their job is not to sell, but to presell – and their real product is content.
Let’s look at this from a customer’s viewpoint to see why building a content-focused and interactive site is so powerful, and why this type of site can radically boost your commissions.
1. Shopping and Connecting
When the average shopper goes online, he or she is likely to have a list of trusted sites already in mind. This is particularly true for certain classes of products in the tangible goods marketplace. However, there is a large pool of potential customers seeking information and doing the research before they buy.
These may be first-time internet shoppers or they may fall into a special interest group and have a lot of comparison shopping to do before they make a decision. These are the customers you can draw to your site with quality content.
But I would like to recommend you go one step beyond just linking up some articles or putting up a newsletter. Instead, build a site that creates a sense of community.
In other words, provide a place where people can connect with their interests and with each other. Why?
Simple: Any site that creates a sense of support is going to generate trust, spawn word-of-mouth referrals and attract repeat visitors. Your site becomes a ‘hub’ or ‘authority’ on a subject, making it an ideal ‘jumping off point’ in the buying process.
It’s like shopping with friends. There’s safety in numbers. There is also much more activity where ideas are shared freely. Not only that, a customer-focused, interactive site allows you to collect feedback and quickly adjust to the needs of your target market.
2. Designing a Community
Setting up this type of site is no more difficult than setting up a static content site – it just requires a little more advanced planning. What you need:
- Structured content
- Message board system
- Multiple related affiliate products
This affiliate site model relies on having multiple products to promote within your niche. For example, let’s say you’ve chosen “The South Beach Diet” as your niche.
In your profit model, you would have a selection of products like the following: a south beach diet e-book, a south beach diet recipes e-book, a recommended merchant for supplements or vitamins, and so on.
Your content should be structured around beginning, intermediate and advanced topics related to the diet. Your newsletter content will cover these topics as well, but with an enhanced focus on recommended ‘solutions’, ie, your affiliate products. Of course, your affiliate links will be sprinkled throughout the online content as well.
Now, here’s where a clever tactic comes in. You set up a message board for customers who have purchased your recommended products through your link. Their ability to create usernames and participate on the forum is dependent on them mailing you their receipt of purchase.
However, general sections of the forum remain open to all guest visitors for viewing. These sections should be focused on discussions on the user’s success with the product(s). Basically, what you’ve done is set up a ‘user’s group’ for a product where one didn’t exist previously.
This accomplishes several things. It allows your faithful visitors to do extended preselling for you, and create additional content on the fly. It creates an atmosphere of trust but also allows the visitor to be subject to “peer influence” in the selling process, thus, taking the focus off of your site and making sales behind the scenes.
Finally, the message board will give you access to reams of data: customer opinions and experience, their feelings about the products, what they’re really looking for, and a lot more.
You can quickly adjust your offerings based on this feedback, as well as compile a super list of ideas for creating your own product a product that meets and even exceeds their expectations because you now know what they did and did not like about the competitor’s products you just sold to them.
The type of site I just described to you is the same kind employed by most successful super-affiliates.
Of course, you can still do quite well just using a simple landing page and newsletter to promote one product. However, if you’re looking to target one niche and plumb it to its depths, this expanded model is the one I recommend.
So, go ahead and set up some landing pages, start collecting leads, and test the response you get for various niches.
When you hit on one that’s hungry and hot, go ahead and move up from the one-page-one product model and build an interactive, super-affiliate hub. You’ll soon find yourself dominating your niche, and able to reap the profits from a variety of product offerings!