Affiliate Strategies for Promoting Products or Services
Being an affiliate has many advantages over selling your own products or services or starting your own business. You have a wide choice of what to promote and once you have made a sale (on behalf of the company you are promoting for) then that’s the end of the transaction as far as an affiliate is concerned. You don’t have to keep any amounts of stock, which need to be recorded as sales, new orders made to keep on top of. There’s, usually, no further transactions to be dealt with to that customer, such as refunds, queries of order fulfilment and further follow ups. This is what draws so many people to being an affiliate.
The only real problem you have as an affiliate is what to promote? There are usually two ways for anyone to start and that is to do something based around their own interests as this can lead to being recognised as someone knowlegable upon that particular subject. Myself for instance, would, if I had time – do a Fan Page of the Star Trek original series – James T. Kirk (William Shatner) Spock (Leonard Nimoy) “Bones” McCoy (Jackson DeForest Kelley) Uhura (My Favourite – Nichelle Nichols) and of course Scotty (James Doohan) and Hikaru Sulu (George Takei). I could seriously “Bore” someone senseless of what I know. Watching the old series back reminds me of when I was a child when I waited eagerly for Saturday night to roll around to watch the next episode, (yes I am that old, original series strated 1966). So from time to time I buy the latest ‘Updated’ Digitally Re-mastered versions, I know they are the same series and probably know before the actors what’s going to happen next.
However for me that’s not the point, I’m revelling in nostalgia, remembering good times I had. It doesn’t matter how much they cost or whether I already have three or four digitally remastered versions, it’s my interest to sit and watch episode after episode eating snacks, as I did when I was young. And that is the point for which you could start, no not watching Star Trek episodes but as an affiliate, it’s not the products that sell but certain triggers, for me it’s the nostalgic effect, for others it’s other memories. Perhaps of their first love, be it a young man or woman they met or their first holiday or some other memorable experience. As an affiliate if you are going to be successful you have to learn to tap in to these emotional triggers when it comes to pre-selling an item or service.
If you’ve noticed I have said “Pre-Sell” Not “Sell”. This is a problem for most affiliates when it comes to getting sign ups to programs or selling products or services. They think it is up to them to “Sell”. IT’S NOT. It’s your ‘job’ to pre-sell the ‘concept’ of what the product or service will do for your prespective clients.
As people we ‘All’ buy through our emotions rather than just pragmatically. Even at the checkout where the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ happens, that small shelf of sweets, chocolate we promised ourselves we wouldn’t buy and even avoided going down that particular isle. And major shops and businesses know these ‘triggers’ then use them to push products on us. The pre-sell happened when we walked in to that shop and it displayed sale or reduced items for those kind of products then built up the expectation. This is very similar to what these days are known online as ‘funnels’. A very effective way of pre-selling then making offering after offering until we give in and buy.
Let’s for instance say you are ‘promoting’ an affiliate link to a website that sells tickets to events. You could write an article about your evening out and how great it was. From getting ready to go out, how you managed to arrive and what the experience of the event was like for you and perhaps those that were with you. Then say “I bought my Tickets from this website” – your affiliate link. And really that is all it takes as an affiliate when it comes to promoting an affiliate program. Your enthusiasm for the product or service will shine through, especially if you’ve had first hand experience either with the product or company. It usually is a good idea to test or buy the product or service to make sure it is something you want to promote, as of course it is your own reputation as an affiliate that suffers if it doesn’t live up to its billing. Plus any sales you do make will be retracted and all that effort to promote will be lost.
The second way to go as an affiliate is to start by finding an audience and learn what it is they like as a group and work out from there what it is they are most likely to buy. Sometimes this can be obvious, if it were a Star Trek forum, then like me memrobelia, remastered copies of old episodes, fan art perhaps and the list for a particular group of enthusiasts goes on. This can be drilled down even further when it comes to pet owners, cat or dog, types of breed etc; Then there’s car enthusiasts, old cars, modern, sports coupe or oldsmobile, drag racing, formula one and so on. However you couldn’t just ‘barge’ in and expect people to buy your offering, even if it suits the groups tastes.
Imagine you’ve just moved in to a new neighbourhood and you walked straight in to someones house to introduce yourself and say, “By the way I sell xxxxx”. You just wouldn’t do it and online etiquitte demands the same kind of respect. To introduce yourself to your new neighbours, might be that you have an open house (party) and invite your neighbours round or you might knock on their doors and introduce yourself personally. Social media is very similar, they want to get to know you and your interests as much as you should get to know them and make connections. It’s much easier to sell or promote to someone you know than a total stranger by way of recommendation.
I mention forums as one place to start, after all it’s the grandfather of todays social media, Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, Pinterest and it is still thriving in its own right. Places where people congregate online to share a passion about their interests. This is also your source of traffic/visitors should you choose to go with the second choice of looking at peoples behaviour and what they might like. The first isn’t really that much more difficult to achieve if you yourself are passionate about a subject. You don’t have to start a blog, though in my experience having a blog as an outlet is my preference, as I also like to ramble in my posts (oh you can tell). Writing actually is my enjoyment and seeing my website rise through the SERPs is satisfying. Though it will take that much longer to establish yourself and your website. Perhaps you could run a forum, or using social media have your own fan page, the choices become endless. So have a plan at the start, stick to it and each day do a bit more, one day at a time you will progress and you will succeed.