“Affiliate” revenue / websites have gone through a number of iterations to keep pace with the rapid evolution of the “web”.
What used to be a simple “content” website, now needs to include elements of branding in order to ensure people are able to attribute its underlying value with a SOCIAL following.
In fact, “SOCIAL” has really changed the game when it comes to the Internet. It no longer pays to be an anonymous avatar hiding behind a nondescript username – you really need skin-in-the-game; which essentially means using your own name/face to promote the ideas you put forward with your sites. The relationships garnered through this approach is where the value lies.
Obviously, using your own name opens you up to competitors… but the trick now is to ensure that people have MORE of a reason to use your content/services than anyone else’s. This comes from either posting TRULY sublime stuff, or focusing on creating as SCINTILLATING service as humanly possible. The latter (service) is where “price comparison” affiliate sites come in.
Affiliate Marketing = 110% Give, 1% Receive
To fully appreciate how this works, you need to understand that in order to “earn” money, there are TWO things you need:
- Audience – group of people who are actively engaged in an activity (HINT: MOST people will gladly “try” something new if it inspires them)
- Product – something said people would be willing to BUY (HINT: NEVER worry about the product. The product will “sell” itself if it’s good)
The way that “affiliate” marketing works is where you will “recommend” a product to an audience and if any of them purchase it – you’ll receive a cut of the profits.
The problem with affiliate marketing is that it has bred a large number of “skim” marketers; who don’t really “do” anything except hype up the next FAD product (diet pills/live chat/gambling/betting etc) and do everything they can to get people to sign up.
The issue with this is that whilst it “works”, it’s NOT sustainable over the long term, and leaves many people HATING the hyperbolic tactics used to trick them into buying things they didn’t need.
The KEY to creating a sustainable / profitable “affiliate” marketing income is to focus on GIVING up front. Yes, it’s cliché and many would argue – relatively ineffective – but it has ONE underlying benefit — builds an audience. This audience (and the depth of its relationship) is where growth really comes for an online “business”.
The level at which you’re able to provide insight, solutions or underlying benefits to a particular audience is how much they’ll reward you with revenue. The only way to do this is to forget yourself and identify a “service” through which you’re able to determine the
Affiliate PRICE COMPARISON Sites
The most important thing to consider regard to how “affiliate” sites work is that there are pretty-much 3 types of site you can create (each varying in difficulty):
- Content Sites (pure content sites focused on providing specific articles to solve problems for people who may be searching through Google etc)
- Community Sites (blogs etc – typically focused on provision of lifestyle-centric solutions // content, connectivity, etc)
- Product Sites (focused either on the reviewing of products, discussion of products or dissection of products/industry news)
Now, the key to all of this is that the effectiveness of each of the above is generally measured by how deep your relationship becomes with the reader/buyer. This is the secret ingredient where “SOCIAL” comes in.
In terms of why this is important – it’s vital to appreciate that if you’re looking to start earning money online, one of the SIMPLEST ways to go about it is to deal with products which are *ALREADY* selling. This used to be done by creating “review” websites and trying to get them ranked on Google.
Whilst this worked, the big problem was that 1) the sites themselves were very “THIN” (had no real resonance) 2) relied on a SINGLE source of traffic (mostly Google).
Without the MASSIVE draw of Google, the majority of “review” sites would never receive traffic. People used them because they had no other choice… but with the “social” web (Trustpilot / Yelp / Twitter / FB / YouTube), the majority of people now have a CHOICE as to where to find information about products they may wish to buy – meaning that if you want to “capture” any of this HUGE amount of traffic, you need to offer a compelling reason for people to actually look at what you’re producing. This is where “price comparison” affiliate sites come in.
Price comparison sites have been around for a LONG time – if you’ve ever bought insurance, personal finance, real estate, flights, hotels or various other packages online – you’ll have likely used websites which essentially “tailor” the product results to the criteria you submit. THIS (partly) is what price comparison functionality is about — giving people the opportunity to discern EXACTLY which products, prices and suppliers would be best for them.
This functionality lies at the crucible of what I’ve been working towards, in regard “affiliate” price comparison sites…
Putting VENDORS & PRODUCTS First
The “new” affiliate price comparison model is actually very simple…
Create a website with a CORE focus on the most EFFECTIVE solutions in an industry… and then track their prices from *ALL* vendors
The way it works is very similar to many of the previous “affiliate” systems we’ve used in the past (review sites) – except the core point of value is that you give the consumer a complete overview of what the “best” products are for a particular problem / issue / solution.
You cut out the hearsay & speculation (no one wants to hear your life story – they really just care about themselves) – you begin to cultivate a “following” through the likes of social media.
If you don’t provide a service, or are looking at doing something to earn money on the side – working with the PROMOTION of PRODUCTS online is one of the most effective things you can do. However, to do it effectively takes MORE than just putting up some one-sided “review” about the features of a product which *may* be effective. You need to appreciate the *depth* that you can imbue into the service. This is what the new “price comparison” model does.
The “new” price comparison sites that I’ve been working with the past couple of years are centered around the provision of a single SERVICE through which users are able to experience exactly what they want without having to trawl through masses of text to get it.
Simply, you provide users with a central “system” through which they’re able to identify the “best” products in a market, and see their historic prices across a large number of vendors. These prices can be gleaned from either native API integrations, or just from “web scraping” (essentially how Google gets all of its data). Whilst this has already been done 1,000’s of time before – the problem with *MOST* “price comparison” sites is that is all they offer.
What we found was that when you combine an effective service – the ability to actually delve deeply into someone’s desires & resolve them – with the ability to match their requirements against products that actually work – you have a resource that many people end up wanting to use. If you’re able to blend this with a decent “social” presence, you’ll be able to operate in any “market” with authority and gravitas.
Getting In Front Of The “Right” Traffic
To summarize – the BIGGEST problem for people starting in business is a lack of footfall / traffic / throughput.
Whilst this isn’t a problem for the “smart” ones who build a business step-by-step over time, it *is* an issue for those without any real direction (end up jumping from project to project).
The absolute key to making any sort of “business” work (both offline and online) is to get in front of the “right” traffic.
To do this, you basically need to flip the problem on its head and focus on creating “content” which you share on a variety of platforms (Google / Twitter / FB / YouTube etc) through which people are able to come and visit your “site” to gain insight on the further steps they can take to deal with what you have/know.
The way to do this most effectively is to show what you can DO on the “social” web (if you “review” products – actually go out of your way to video the results of how the products work)… after doing that, you need to then create some sort of resource which is so potent that they will actually want to click through and consider what you have to say.
The best way for this to be done is to create a compelling “resource” through which the readers gain access to information they will NEVER get anywhere else. This is done primarily by creating an effective service through which people are able to identify the products and vendors whom they wish to deal with. If you do this effectively, you’ll earn revenue by virtue of anyone who buys the products that you recommend on your site.