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|No-Nonsense General Affiliate Marketing Commandments|
To describe most successful affiliates the first 10k is the toughest! - I remember how hard i worked but only to make little in AM, but once you "GET IT" ,its sooo straightforward ,simple and lucurative ...The mantra is to work smart not hard!
1 , Never spend too much of your time and energy on site design and looks - Shed your ego , your site is not the reflection of your personality or taste ...The surfer never gives a sh*t about how your site looks - Remember your sales url's are not meant to put on the card you give the girl in the bar :)
2 , Your passion is different from business [unless your passion is debt consolidation or online gambling :) ] , so never confuse business with life!
3 , SEO's are in the "I NEED IT NOW" market irrespective of the industry . So give the surfer what he needs right there and dont distract him much with chocies and stupid stories ...if he typed "dark green round widget" and landed on your site for GOD's sake give him the link to buy instead of blah blah'ing how your cousin's niece liked dark green round widget :)
4, Experiment constantly and dump the niches which are not producing and beat to death the niche which makes dough .
5, Automate , Mass produce and Clone your Success ...
6, Marketing in general and direct marketing in particular is a number's game and affiliate industry is no exception
7, Domains are a $9 commodity
8, SEO is a zero sum game and here dog eats dog .
9, if your traffic is based on SE's ,remember we are not in a long term industry and you can be 100% sure your son is not going to inherit the business :) , so never reinvest or spend all you make ,hide most of it under the carpet!
10, Stay under the radar and never post like this on a public forum :)
Nice post gopi.
|1 , Never spend too much of your time and energy on site design and looks ... your sales url's are not meant to put on the card you give the girl in the bar |
Hmm... maybe the real reason affiliate marketers don't like to give out their urls at conferences. ;)
|8, SEO is a zero sum game and here dog eats dog . |
Especially so in very competitive niches. I will add:
11, Every business in the world needs customers, and there are still are a lot of 'fresh' industries out there with money to be made. Pioneer them, and the money will flow far easier without the competition.
|10, Stay under the radar and never post like this on a public forum :) |
Perhaps, but find the right group to share knowledge with and you will never regret it:
12, Don't be affraid to share knowledge with people. You don't have to give away the (link) farm, but share some of what will help others and you are bound to get help in return.
Good list in general but I disagree with #2 in particular. If I wanted to spend my life in an endeavor as soulless as rounding up debt consolidation leads, I could have stayed at my cubicle job.
Having passion about the subject makes your site that much more vital, and it gives you an edge that enables you to work harder and work smarter.
Are you saying that Affiliate Marketing will not last? What did you mean by your son not inheriting your business?
I think he means one day it might be making a lot of money, but the next day someone better (or dare I say luckier) can come and kick your can to the ground. If you rely heavily on SERPs and not PPC or other ways then he might mean rankings change monthly, even daily now. Never depend on google keeping you at #1.
>> Find the right group to share knowledge with and you will never regret it
>> Having passion about the subject makes your site that much more vital
jomaxx , think like this - the passion of most of the people here is SEO and Internet Marketing , so whether we sell 'payday loan' or 'pancake maker' we are pursuing what we love that is online marketing!
>> Are you saying that Affiliate Marketing will not last?
No GuitarZan , i am saying free search engine traffic may not last forever
13. Read and reread all of Gopi's posts. :)
>> 13. Read and reread all of Gopi's posts. :)
Instead of a medium fish like me i will read posts of ...... ,you know the sharks :)
"No GuitarZan , i am saying free search engine traffic may not last forever "
I remember this discussion on another board under another nick.
Free traffic will last if you're halfway decent at SEO. With billions of pages out there the results will be handled by an algo so anybody can get good results if you know what you're doing. And with the need for an index there will always be pages getting in for free. If they only had paid pages in, there would be no index. So there will always be free SE traffic.
"Your passion is different from business"
Doesn't have to be. Actually might be easier working on a site you have a passion about and nowadays all types of sites can bring in money. So your passion can be very lucrative.
You know Gopi, some affiliates can actually build up their affiliate sites as their own brand and not have to rely on the SE's for their success. You have the mentality of get it while you can because it won't last forever. With that type of thinking it won't.
Maybe the title of thread should be
No-Nonsense General Affiliate Marketing Commandments For Affiliates Who Think It's Smart To Be Totally Reliant On Search Engines And Want To Get All The Money They Can Because Free Search Engine Traffic Won't Last Forever, So Do What You Gotta Do And Stay Under The Radar While Doing It.
I'd have to say I disagree with the first 9. Unfortunately commandment number 10 prevents me from posting why. ;)
>> I'd have to say I disagree with the first 9. Unfortunately commandment number 10 prevents me from posting why
LOL , shrirch may be i am wrong but somehow this guidelines did good for me! - hey that 10 commandment is meant more or less like a joke :)
>> some affiliates can actually build up their affiliate sites as their own brand and not have to rely on the SE's for their success.
TrustNo1 , actually i clearly stated thats the case if you rely on SE's ... if you have a good brand which generate consistent targetted typein's and bookmarks good for you - sadly i am not that talented to create a brand!
Great post, Gopi, and very generous too. You left one thing out - share the knowledge, but I guess your post is living proof that you already know about that!
Gopi is talking about a very specific type of affiliate marketing. It is not the only type of affiliate marketing - there are at least two other profitable strategies I can think of which work extrememly successfully.
Gopi has outlined what is probably the best type of marketing if you predominantly, if not exclusively, see the primary goal of your website(s) (or even your entire business) as monetary profit. Some do. Some don't.
Of course profit is eventually essential.
But it need not to be the primary goal.
Sometimes innovation is stifled when it is.
This is the kind of thing I have arguments with a colleague of mine about all the time.
Thanks for the compliment Michael ...
Ronin , i am a hardcore capitalist and my personal belief is that the only goal of a 'for profit' corporation is to make money and other things it does are a way to directly or indirectly make money!
>> may be i am wrong but somehow this guidelines did good for me
Nah .. you're spot on. Unfortunately depending on your religion or belief system, there are different sets of commendments. I choose to remain agnostic and use whatever commandments suitable to me at the moment to justify whatever mess I'm about to create.
|1 , Never spend too much of your time and energy on site design and looks - Shed your ego , your site is not the reflection of your personality or taste ...The surfer never gives a sh*t about how your site looks - Remember your sales url's are not meant to put on the card you give the girl in the bar :) |
I don't think that is entirely true. While people don't care if sites are beautiful before spending money with them I think they do want something that looks decent and well organized and professional. It is all about building a site that is Simple to use with very straight forward navigation that directs the user quickly to what they want and where they want to go without having to hunt for it or guess how your site works. The less clutter and distraction the better. Throw up ugly junk that you gave no thought to the layout or user friendliness of and you'll get a much lower conversion rate.
When I go to a site that is hideous or completely dorky I leave as fast as I can get my mouse to the close button. While I would never spend time doing stupid things on a commercial site like flash and slick heavy graphics, I would spend time making sure it is clean, simple and professional. I'll leave the heavy graphics to entertainment sites like heavy.com
I really never understood before why people did not care how ugly sites are. How completely ugly sites like Ebay and Amazon do so well and then never improve there sites after making so much. But then I understood it. It is all about the ease of use and FUNCTIONALITY. Most people don't care about how good and pretty it looks because the masses don't have any good tastes themselves for one thing. Two, most people are on Windows so they are already use to junky crap kid like graphics and already expect most things to look like that! Sad. And Third, most people care mostly about the utilitarian factor of getting what they want and it working they way they want it to. So if ebay and amazon were good looking with the same functionality they would still do just as well because people find what they want. It just doesn't hurt them that they are not.
So, while great looks don't matter I still think it makes a big difference to spend time planning the design and layout to make it clean and simple and professional and easy to navigate. Easy to use and understand. Think functionality and user friendliness. Don't throw up unthought out crap.
The "10 commandments" are basically for those totally dependent on search engines. I don't think Gopi is looking for any TV press or anything like that, they are just sites for the search engines, which can work. They don't need to look "pretty" but they need to be "usable" Some "pretty" looking sites aren't very usable, some ugly ones are.
Great post, Gopi.
While I'd never ever do (or recommend) what Gopi does I'd sure recommend his post as a must read.
That's my added commandment :)
>> When I go to a site that is hideous or completely dorky I leave as fast as I can get my mouse to the close button.
You have to accept the fact that 99.999999% of the internet users are nothing like yourself. Do not overanalyze every situation by putting yourself in the users feet. You'll defeat every interesting idea you've had by being your own devil's advocate.
>>You have to accept the fact that 99.999999% of the internet users are nothing like yourself. Do not overanalyze every situation by putting yourself in the users feet. You'll defeat every interesting idea you've had by being your own devil's advocate.
Thank You. That has hindered me abit. Do you have any examples that this is based on for Aff Marketing?
>> When I go to a site that is hideous or completely dorky I leave as fast as I can
Thats the idea! , i want him to leave as fast as possible ... just make sure the money link looks enticing and much more prominant than the back button :)
>> Do you have any examples that this is based on for Aff Marketing?
99.99% of the users dont know or even heard about Affiliate Marketing ...When you put a aff link in a average looking site with some boiler plate product description most people will have no idea that you are paid , they simply may think that as some honest recommandation from a lonely nerd with no girl friends and too much free time :)
There is a reason ebay or our own darling google looks cheap . Also there is a reason those offline discount superstores look cheap :)
Yeah, I see where you are coming from. Right now, I am trying to provide relevant content on my first site, but not much. It is a mini site, and I want them to click through to the merchant site, so I am preselling them hoping to increase conversions.
Ok. Here goes. I objected to the first 9 and got a bit of flak for it in sticky, so here goes.
I have a problem with the word commandments... which is why I am being naive and perhaps irritating a few by playing contrarian.
>> 1 , Never spend too much of your time and energy on site design and looks
Buy CSS templates, go to sites like csszengarden etc and build a library of 10-15 templates that are generic, clean and yes, CSS 2/3 column driven. Get your self a dozen or two logo templates and you're set.
At a minimum, validate your HTML and if you really do want to go the extra step, read Steve Krug's book "Don't make me think".
>> 2 , Your passion is different from business [unless your passion is debt consolidation or online gambling :) ] , so never confuse business with life!
If your business sickens you, don't bother. I've spent way too much time in the real world getting too stressed to go to work. Keep your stress levels in perspective when you go about doing what you do to make your money.
>> 3 <snip> dont distract him much with chocies and stupid stories <snip> blah blah'ing how your cousin's niece liked dark green round widget :)
If you do want to blah blah about your niece's dark green round widgets, make sure you end the sentence with "which she bought for $19.99 (and saved $100!) from abc.com". Depending on the industry, you may need some pretty subtle and elaborate hooks. Learn A/B testing.
>> 4, Experiment constantly and dump the niches which are not producing and beat to death the niche which makes dough .
Try twice or thrice if you have the time and luxury. Some niches might not work because you forgot to tell the buyer about your nieces green round widgets and how much she saved by buying them from xyz.com.
>> 5, Automate , Mass produce and Clone your Success ...
Agree with this without exception.
>> 6, Marketing in general and direct marketing in particular is a number's game and affiliate industry is no exception
Absolutely agree with this. Infact, pick up a book or two about marketing or psychology or design or usability and learn a lesson or two if you're a single talent wonder.
>> 7, Domains are a $9 commodity
May be. May be not. This is a religious issue with everyone that I have met. I belive in spending the extra 15 minutes on something brandable and something that I'll be happy with and can reuse. (Can't find the original guide / post by digitalghost ...)
>> 8, SEO is a zero sum game and here dog eats dog .
Again a life philosophy. Depending on where you're in life and the amount of knocks you've taken or dished out, you can survive without canibalistic practices.
>> 9, hide most of it under the carpet!
Invest in a carpet cleaning business.
Enough for now .. have to go add an Amazon banner to my dog's home page.
Another great post, except this time I would probably do everything and recommend everything shrirch says...
Good post Shri!
>> got a bit of flak for it in sticky
It is only a zero-sum positional game up until someone clicks a listing, after which point you are free to keep increasing EPC.
For record's sake .. not from you. Someone else I duel with....
|You have to accept the fact that 99.999999% of the internet users are nothing like yourself. Do not overanalyze every situation by putting yourself in the users feet. You'll defeat every interesting idea you've had by being your own devil's advocate. |
Oh I... know. I am deffinetely not like the masses nor can I understand them. So I don't even try to.
When I think that something I create I would never buy myself or that it is ugly I figure that it will probably be a winner. If I do like it I figure it won't have too many buyers.
Even now I am putting up art for sell that I created and then hate and think is totally ugly. Because I want to see if there are a lot of buyers who think otherwise. It's just strange looking at my own stuff and pages and thinking - yuk that's so stupid. Just because people always assumes the creator or seller would only put out what they love. It's my most walmarty idea so far. Totally opposite from my usual edgy and dark stuff.
|Thats the idea! , i want him to leave as fast as possible ... just make sure the money link looks enticing and much more prominant than the back button :) |
Never thought of it that way. I guess that could work for the only purpose being to get them to click on one particular banner at the top or ad. Not work though for the purpose of pulling and inticing people deep into the site and want to come back if they are buying things from the site. There's a big difference between just getting people to click on something and actually using your site to Sell them and have them click a buy now button on your site based on those sell efforts. I would still never click anything on a site that was too awful because I would be afraid of it crashing my browser or downloading something I didn't want it to. I don't mean just some generic looking site. Those are everywhere and I'm use to them. I mean the sites that have like some rainbow background with some loud annoying looping music that starts when you go to it and flashing bling bling banners and animation all going on at once. That's what I meant that I would leave quickly.
Although of course I'm not like everyone...
Great Post Gopi!
Couple of points:
To those of you that insist on "slick" looking sites, have you ever actually tested conversion for merchant based aff programs? Time after time we have enjoyed better success with home brewed html pages over fancy templates. Ever wonder why the messy, cluttered, ugly stores (offline) attract 1000x the walk in customers than "fancy", pretentious stores? Simple, they look like they are cheap...Go to a tourist area and listen as people walk buy a boutique - over and over they will say "that looks expensive"
It is probably best to make a definition of successful aff marketing here as folks like Ronin always seem to chime in with, "you can be successful without money" type posts. Sure, I can make sites that earn $3.42 per day, but this is a professional forum and i think most here are talking about cash, as general happiness is a bit different topic :)
We can argue for years about what way is the "best", but I can guarantee you that Gopi's methods alone work to the tune of hundreds of thousands per year profit if executed properly.
Thank you very much mfishy! - As you posted some time before , i also wanted to help the newbies and to clear some of the misinformation floating around here , but seems there is not that much takers for the truth :)
>loud annoying looping music that starts when you go to it and flashing bling bling banners and animation all going on at once
AW_Learner , when i talked about ugly sites i never meant that . The sites you mention takes years to load , crash the browser and are plain annoying .
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