Are You Practicing “Spray And Pray” Affiliate Marketing?

Marketing things as an affiliate is obviously a good way to make money with a blog. It is WAY better than using banner ads and the income potential is far better. That said, making good money as an affiliate is about being more strategic than simply tossing out posts promoting stuff. You've got to think like a marketer and that means thinking about what's going on inside the person's head. Say what? Read On...

Marketing things as an affiliate is obviously a good way to make money with a blog. It is WAY better than using banner ads and the income potential is far better.

That said, making good money as an affiliate is about being more strategic than simply tossing out posts promoting stuff. You’ve got to think like a marketer and that means thinking about what’s going on inside the person’s head.

Say what? Read On…

Attracting Buyers Versus “Spray And Pray”

Typically, a blogger will simply post something about an affiliate product and maybe email it to their list. If they have a good relationship with their audience and the product is truly relevant, then this can work (and often does).

However, this could be called the “spray and pray” approach. In other words, you just spray the message out there and see who bites. It isn’t really targeted beyond the fact that it is relevant. It doesn’t take into account that a pretty huge portion of your audience isn’t really in the mood to buy anything. Plus, it depends on you HAVING a decent-size audience already.

The alternative is to specifically cater to people who ARE in the mood to buy. They are actively looking for solution to something, or perhaps even a particular product. As a marketer, you are dealing with a person who is in the buyer’s mindset. All you really need to do is push them over the edge and get them to take action.

What we’re talking about is thinking in a targeted fashion. Instead of trying to attract just anybody, you instead make the promotion geared to people who are in the buyer’s mindset. Push them over the edge and get them to take action. If anybody else decides to come along, all the better.

How can we do this?

Attracting And Pushing Buyers

A person in the buyer’s mindset is not simply casually checking their email or surfing Google Reader. They’re usually on the prowl. So, what kinds of things do they look for before they’re about to buy?

  • Reviews
  • Bonuses
  • Comparisons
  • Coupon codes

So, let’s say you are reviewing a product like P90X (a popular workout program). You could either just blindly write about P90X on a general site about fitness, or you could specifically target people looking for P90X information. So, write a blog post which is designed to review P90X. Using standard SEO, you can get into the search engines as a P90X review. People looking for reviews are generally thinking about buying.

Perhaps they’re looking to compare P90X to P90 (the precursor to P90X), because this is a pretty common question with prospective buyers of those products. So, using the same SEO techniques, you specifically write a post which compares P90X and P90.

With your post, you can take a person who was a prospect for that product anyway, and push them over the edge into taking action. Realize that, even with the spray and pray approach, you can do the same thing. Your post, though, will really only resonate with people who were already in that mindset.

Now, once they’re at that point, you’ve got to push them over the edge. You can use bonuses to propel them into taking action. You can also use special coupon codes which you arrange to give them a discount. Apply some scarcity to it (i.e. coupon code expires at certain time, etc.) and you can push them into action.

A Problem With Coupon Codes

Coupon codes are quite effective as an affiliate marketer, however they often come with a problem. Actually, a couple of them:

  • Sometimes they aren’t that noticeable in your post. Even with BOLD text, sometimes they just don’t punch.
  • A person can sometimes copy the coupon code and simply bypass your affiliate link.

In the past, I have recommended MaxblogPress Ninja Affiliate as a way to manage your affiliate links as well as make them “pretty” using your own domain. I continue to recommend that plug-in and I use it all the time here on this blog. It is simply fantastic.

There is a new plug-in called, quite simply, the Coupon Code plug-in. Now, this plug-in does not replace Ninja Affiliate by any means. It has a very simple purpose…. to help you manage coupon codes and insert them into your posts in a way which is noticeable and avoids having people bypass your link. So, you get the following benefits:

  1. You can manage coupon codes on a site-wide basis, since the plug-in uses short codes to insert the codes into your posts. This means you can edit coupon codes site-wide, too, should it expire and you need to extend a new one.
  2. You can add an automatic call to action next to your coupon code, along with formatting (which you can control) to make sure your coupon code is visible and gets noticed.
  3. You can mask the out-going URL of your coupon code, ensuring people have to follow your affiliate link to use the code.
  4. You can keep people from being able to copy/paste your coupon code and bypass your affiliate link.

This plug-in is going to likely work best for bloggers who are in niches where the affiliate products are mostly retail. It can work in any niche, really, but not all niches make heavy use of coupon codes. The thing is, MOST bloggers are probably in this boat. Your niche might have many related retail products, but perhaps not any big info products like we see in the blogging niche or internet marketing niche. So, I think this Coupon Code plug-in is pretty useful.

One of the guys behind this plug-in is Chris Guthrie, a guy I shared a few drinks with in Vegas for BlogWorld. He has generated over a million dollars in sales to Amazon.com as an affiliate, and makes over $5,000/month from the Amazon affiliate program. If you know how low their commission rates are, you know what a feat that is to do. 🙂 So, he knows a thing or two about what I’m talking about with affiliate marketing, and how to put them over the edge into making the sale.

Build Your Affiliate Marketing Engine

You can turn your blog into a self-perpetuating source of cash when you approach it strategically. I will continute be a huge proponent of creating your own products and selling them. That said, I know a LOT of bloggers out there are at a loss about how to proceed with that. Perhaps you’re in a niche where you really can’t think of anything to sell. Affiliate marketing is perfect for you! But, you need to do it with a strategy in mind and you need to have the right tools.

Two tools I recommend are:

With these two tools built into your blog, you will have what you need to execute the strategies the most successful affiliate marketers use. Plus, you can execute these strategies globally on your site rather than thinking only on a single-post basis all the time.

Just remember, it is about taking a person with the right mindset and just putting them over the edge.

QUICK NOTE (TIME-SENSITIVE):
The Coupon Code plug-in has JUST been launched, and is currently on a “launch special” until Thursday, the 19th. So, you might wanna get while the gettin’ is good. 🙂 Also, Chris tells me that, for the first 30 days, he is donating all of his proceeds from this plug-in to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. So, you can do some good while building your your marketing arsenal. Kinda cool, huh?

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Responses

  1. “$5,000/month from the Amazon affiliate program”
    Wow 😐 It’s really hard to break $300-500 barrier and yes, the commission percentage sucks lol we’ll all probably richer if it’s 10-20%

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