Product Reviews & Giveaways
In this second tutorial of the affiliate marketing series, we will begin to consider various less well known affiliate marketing strategies to take maximum advantage of your traffic generation activities.
In compiling this tutorial and the next, I have to a large extent ignored some of the better known (more basic level) aspects of affiliate marketing with which I imagine you are already familiar.
For example, I imagine that you may already be publishing articles with leading directory sites like EzineArticles to promote your business.
Similarly, I have also assumed that you have registered a keyword enriched domain name and that you have built a site homepage that is being used to build your brand as highlighted in the previous tutorial.
What I am therefore going to do is focus on some more advanced affiliate marketing tactics that you can use with which you may be less familiar.
However, I am going to start with a creative take on an old favorite of online marketing…
Getting The Prospect Into Your Funnel
One mistake that many affiliate marketing beginners make is to adopt a far too short term view of their business and marketing activities. Their primary concern is to generate a sale and therefore a commission payment without thinking much beyond these parameters.
This is a simple and understandable mistake to make. It is however also one that could have very serious implications for the profitability of your affiliate marketing efforts in the long-term.
Think of it this way and you quickly understand why.
Assuming that you’re promoting a Clickbank information product, you already know that there are many products paying 50% or even 75% as a commission for every successful sale.
This therefore means that the original product creator is happy to receive only 25% after they have put in the work to create a product. This might seem crazy until you think about exactly why they are willing to do this.
You made a sale and landed a nice chunk of cash.
However, this is as far as your involvement with this particular customer is ever going to go. You will never hear or make a single cent from them ever again.
The product creator has the all-important customer contact information however.
He therefore has the ability to go back to them time after time to promote additional products and services. This will ultimately generate a very handsome long-term income for him, which is why he gives up the lion’s share of the initial commission.
You on the other hand have turned a prospect into a customer. This is good from a short-term income viewpoint.
On the other hand, it also means there is one less prospect in your business funnel and you therefore need to find a new one to replace them. In effect therefore, if you run your business this way, you are on a constant treadmill of finding a never-ending stream of new prospects.
Ultimately, you will run out of prospects or the energy to find them. At this point, your business inevitably starts to rundown.
This is not therefore the way to build business that is going to put increasing profits into your coffers for months or years.
What you must do is pull as many prospects as you can into your business system rather than feeding them to the original product creator. In this way, you build a long-term future for your affiliate marketing business.
There are a couple of ways you could do this, both of which focus on capturing the prospect contact information.
Create A Landing Page
This is a page on your site which is designed to collect contact information from the visitor and nothing more.
On this landing page, you must have some kind of free gift offer to encourage visitors to subscribe in addition to your content.
This gift must be very closely related to your market niche.
For example, if you are promoting an online dating product, then you need to give away an online dating e-book, a special report or video series to encourage people to subscribe to your list.
On the page, one content option is to feature a list of bullet points highlighting the main advantages of the free gift on offer as well as your list subscription form.
Alternatively, it can be quicker, easier and more effective to publish a video on the landing page in which you explain the benefits of your free gift to the visitor ‘directly’ (through the medium of your web cam)
Okay, so you need a free gift to give away.
The first and most time-consuming thing to do is create the gift yourself from scratch. This is not something that I would usually recommend because if you have the ability to create your own product, you should consider selling it as your own product rather than giving it away.
On the other hand, if you are going to give your own original work away as a free gift, make sure that it contains plenty of affiliate links so that you will make money from it at some point.
The second option is to use PLR materials as the basis of your free gift.
The third and easiest option is to select a dozen or so niche targeted articles from a leading directory site like EzineArticles. Write a page or two of introduction explaining that these are your favorite articles in the niche before pasting each article into the same Word document.
Try to find a nice looking cover graphic for your publication, add details of your site in the page footer and finally create a secure PDF document using a free online resource like PrimoPDF.
‘Hey Presto’, an hour’s work and no money spent for your own unique giveaway product.
Finally, set your autoresponder account to automatically redirect anyone who subscribes to your list to the affiliate product offer page.
Yes, using landing pages in this way will lose a few affiliate product sales but in the long run, it will build your business which is ultimately more important and far more profitable.
Reviewing Cheap Products
An alternative strategy from doing something fairly similar is to send targeted visitors to a presale or review page.
In this case, you feature either one product review or three comparative reviews of similar products on the same page, each of which is linked to your own affiliate link(s).
Now, you have probably seen similar review pages used recently by affiliates as they have become extremely popular over the past few years. However, in terms of building your business, you are going to use the review page model slightly differently.
The first thing that you should do (irrespective of whether you feature one or more products on the review page) is promote affiliate products that are cheap.
You do this because you want an offer that almost anyone can afford and because you are primarily focused on building your business as opposed to making a big initial commission check.
So, let’s say that you are promoting three $9.99 products from the same review page. What you now do is offer a valuable free gift as a bonus that is only available to anyone who buys through your site.
In this situation, the bonus gift has to have a clearly stated value, so it would not be particularly appropriate (as an example) to use your collection of articles as highlighted in the previous example.
On the contrary, what you need to do is provide a bonus that is so extraordinarily valuable in comparison to the amount they pay for the product that no-one who is going to buy would ever consider doing so from anyone else.
You might for example offer two or three bonus gifts from the same page instead of one. Make sure that every bonus you feature is given a monetary value as well to ensure that the site visitor understands the value they will get free if they buy through your link.
So, they buy through your affiliate link.
When they do so, it is a condition of your offer that they have to send a copy of their digital receipt for the product they purchased in order to get their bonus.
You now have their e-mail address but you cannot automatically add them to your subscriber list as they have not given their permission for you to do so.
What you do instead is ask for their permission in such a persuasive way that they would be crazy not to take advantage of your offer.
The easiest way of doing this is to send their gift with a message to the effect that you regularly send out such free gifts to your subscribers, but of course you can only include them in this free gift giveaway with their permission.
Approach your lead in this way, and a large percentage will subscribe, meaning that you can add them to your list and build your business at the same time.
The Missing Link Approach
The missing link approach is the name that I apply to another effective strategy for including giveaway bonuses to build your business.
However, in this case, the primary objective is to generate big commission paydays as well as building your list.
The way that it works is this.
Firstly, you find a popular affiliate product that is selling well which pays a nice chunk of change in commission.
Next, you create a presale page for the product that starts by emphasizing how good the product is and how valuable it has been to you (request a free review copy from the product creator so you can give an honest review). However, you should make sure that you do not go over the top with your praise as there is a ‘sting in the tail’ of this strategy.
What you really want to do on the page is emphasize that there is a ‘missing link’, a fault that dictates that whilst the product is very good, there is something missing that would make it outstanding or excellent.
You follow this up by producing your bonus as the ‘missing link’, the solution to this problem that will make the product infinitely better than it would be if the customer does not have your bonus product or offer.
As an example, most Forex trading systems and programs rely on ‘trading signals’ for their profitability.
If you were promoting an imaginary Forex product (not the one shown above), you might therefore suggest that whilst the trading signals included in the system make it 97% profitable, you ‘tweaked’ it by including your own signals so that it is now 99.4% profitable.
No-one else is offering a bonus. And of course, in order to get the bonus that makes the product the customer is buying even better, they have to buy through your link.
Okay, so far, so good, but this is where it gets just that bit smarter.
The way you are going to try to find super targeted prospects for this offer is to use PPC advertising in which your keyword terms must be an exact match for the product name.
In other words, for the Clickbank product highlighted previously, my keyword terms might be:
‘Forex megadroid robot bonus’
‘Forex megadroid bonus’
‘Forex megadroid upgrade’
By using the product name in this way, you ensure that your adverts appear on the results page when Internet users search for the product by name.
These are prospects who have almost decided to buy the product which you are promoting. After all, why would they search for the product by name if they were not thinking of buying it?
All they are looking for is a final confirmation that their decision to buy this product is the right one. Your review page provides exactly the kind of evidence and information they need to push them over the edge.
Furthermore, some prospects are probably smart enough to know that there will be some marketers offering bonuses, hence they might use the ‘bonus’ and ‘upgrade’ keyword terms highlighted.
Net users who are using search terms that are this targeted are much more likely to convert into paying customers. Consequently, all you are doing is siphoning off super-targeted PPC traffic.
However, there is one potential shortfall associated with this method.
Depending on how long the product had been available, there may be other affiliate marketers who are using a similar approach.
This could push the amount you need to pay per click on your adverts up by a considerable margin, particularly if you are advertising with AdWords.
Nevertheless, as long as you keep a very close eye on costs against sales, it still makes sense to bid higher in many situations because if you can grab the #1 advertising slot, it maximizes your click throughs and your conversions.
This is why this particular strategy should only be used when promoting a product that is going to put a decent chunk of commission into your bank account for every successful sale.
For example, even if you were paying $2 per click when the commission payment is in excess of $73, you will be in profit (but not by much) as long as you convert more than one in every 35 visitors into a customer.
This equates to a conversion rate of about 3%, and if such a laser targeted campaign cannot produce better conversion rates than this, your advertising copy probably needs some significant tweaking.
And of course, to get your free bonus (or bonuses – always remember that the more you overdeliver, the more successful this strategy is), they have to e-mail you their receipt.
This gives you the opportunity of trying to add them to your subscriber list as well.
Advertising Using A New Product Name
As suggested in the previous section, the amount you pay per click on your adverts will depend on the competition for the product name on which you are focused. And quite obviously, the more popular or well established a product is, the greater the competition is likely to be.
Given that to maximize your ad clicks, you want the #1 advertising slot, here’s a variation on the concept that makes it far easier and therefore cheaper to do so.
Rather than waiting until a product becomes popular (with ad clicks being already expensive), hit the product as soon as it is launched or (even more effectively) before it launches.
This is fairly easy to do once you know how.
The first thing to do is sign up with jvnotifypro.com for free if you are not already a member.
Being a member of this site is extremely beneficial because it is the site to which all of the top online marketers go to seek joint venture partners a few weeks before they launch their new products.
This means that you have anywhere between two and four weeks advance notice of new products being launched. You even know what the product name is going to be.
Now, one thing that you do need to be aware of is that the majority of the products are focused on the Internet marketing business and IM is often extremely competitive.
Even so, the time when it is least competitive is when a new product is just about to launch. There is therefore no better time to get in than right at the beginning.
Another thing to appreciate is that there is of course no guarantee that any individual product will be successful which represents an element of risk.
Nevertheless, if you find a well known marketer with a big launch, the chances of success are high, so the risk is pretty limited…
Okay, so imagine that you have a product that looks like it could take off.
Say it’s called ‘Big Boss Affiliate’.
The best thing to do now is register a domain name that is a close match for the product (the product owners should have already ‘taken’ the exact name). For example, you might register ‘BigBossAffiliatex.com’ or something of this nature.
Next, set up a site that carries a product review with a niche article or two plus a couple of outgoing links to authority sites (Wikipedia, Yahoo etc.) for ranking purposes.
Make sure that you have links on the page to your ‘Earnings Disclaimer’, ‘Privacy’ and ‘Terms and Conditions’ pages to comply with the Google ‘Quality Score’ rules as well.
Give away a unique special report that you created using articles as highlighted earlier to double or triple your conversion rates.
Okay, you are now ready to start PPC advertising using the product name when it first hits the market and as your site is already live, you have already stolen a march on the competition. And of course, this tends to mean that for a few days at least, the cost of clicks will be pretty low at a time when conversion rates should be at their highest.
But don’t stop now.
How about the organic search results on the left-hand side of the page? How about dominating those as well?
As soon as your site is populated, start building satellite sites at Blogger, Squidoo, HubPages, Zimbio, Weebly, LiveJournal, WordPress.com etc.
Use the product name in the URL of each mini-site. Populate each with unique content (find a couple of PLR articles and spin them) before linking each mini-site back to your main product web page.
With a bit of luck, this should push your main site to the top of the natural search results on the left hand side of the results page, right next to your adverts on the right.
As far as the product name is concerned, you’ve got the search results page cornered, and you can only imagine how many sales this should generate.
Another site that is very useful for this strategy is CBEngine.com as it enables you to keep a close eye on how well a new Clickbank product is doing just after launch.
Knowing what the recently launched products are doing is useful information to have because in the unlikely event that a new ‘top-launch’ actually bombs, you can see it happening within a day or two.
This means that you can cut your expenditure of time and cash short which enables you to move on to your next project far more quickly too.
In this tutorial, you have been introduced to some strategies that you can use to either build your business for long-term cash flow or bring in big commission checks as and when necessary.
In the third and final tutorial in the series, we’ll continue in a similar manner but with more focus on some less common ways of generating targeted visitors to your site.