A sale via any Affiliate Program (which as any other branch of business is easily found through the job search web site) is really a two-step process. It requires the delivery of two "Most Wanted Responses," yours and your merchant's.
As an affiliate, what is your Most Wanted Response (MWR)? No, it's not to get the sale. That's the second step and it's also your merchant's MWR. Your MWR is to "get the open-to-buy click" (i.e., your visitor clicks through to your merchant with an open-to-buy mindset).
Let your merchant's site do its job and get the sale. I remember when I used to tell my star baseball pitcher, Joel Leonoff...
"Joel... you don't have to strike 'em all out. You've got a great team behind you. Let them do their job."
The same goes for your merchants. Let them do their job.
Our "Top 100" 5 Pillar Affiliates all provide useful content. They PREsell. Then they let the rest of their team (us here at SiteSell) get the sale.
It's a two-step process that builds to the sale...
STEP 1 You PREsell to get an open-to-buy click-through to your merchant.
STEP 2 Your merchant gets the sale.
So, whatever you do, however you do it, it should always pull your visitor one step closer to delivering your MWR...
Get an open-to-buy click through to your income-generating source! Whoops! I was just about to move on to the next point. Good thing I heard you asking...
"Ken, if I leave it up to the merchant's site to get the sale, I still don't see how I have any influence on the Conversion Rate. I'd much rather sell the visitor on my own site."
First, let's make sure we have our terms straight by examining a real case study. Elad Shippony, from Israel, is an excellent example of an infopreneur. He is creating fun and entertaining content to drive traffic from the Search Engines, and then monetizing that traffic, without selling a product or service.
PREsell effectively, and your CR will zoom. But if it reads like a "hard-sell sales pitch," you'll quickly lose credibility with your audience.
On the other hand, let's say that you do not have a mega-content, ultra-high traffic site. You really love SiteSell products and that's why you're so proud to represent them. After all, you'd never want to just "push stuff" on people, products that you do not believe represent true value-for-dollar.
You create a Web site that really raves about Site Build It! (SBI!) and other SiteSell products. You mean every word of it, of course. And you are really proud of your site. And you know that you are doing visitors a favor by telling them about the SiteSell products.
Whoa! Let's shift the focus from YOU for a second. Let's focus on your visitor's mindset. Up above, I said...
Get inside your visitor's head -- realize how she will feel each step of the way. Whatever you do, consider the impact on your visitor -- if it does not make her "open to buy," don't do it.
So maybe you see an honest site that tries to share the benefits of SBI! with your visitor. But your visitor does not know you or your motivations. And most importantly, she is not reading the relevant information that she was searching for. (The fundamental reality of the Net is information, information, information).
Your visitor sees a straight sales effort. With no other true content, it would be hard for "an outsider" to see it any other way.
It does not matter what you see. If your visitors basically perceive a straight sales effort for your merchants, you're selling, not PREselling. That means that the two-step process is now SELL-SELL...
Redundancy = Turned OFF customer = LOW CR.
But if you develop great content (as Elad did with his niche), it will lead to the click. You become a friend making a recommendation rather than a stranger
making a sales pitch. And if you create a truly great site, you'll actually become a trusted expert making an endorsement.
Recommendation = Turned ON customer = HIGH CR. In oth
er words, don't push your visitor to the click, make her want to click. It makes all the difference if your visitor feels that it's her idea to deliver your MWR (the open-to-buy click).
Another question? Geez, I was about to grab a coffee. Fire away! "Can you give me another example of using content to PREsell?" Sure. Let's say that you love Make Your Words Sell! (MYWS!), the perfect bookend to Make Your Content PREsell!. Your plan is to create a Net marketing site.