The Internet is bursting with Web sites created by affiliates to steer visitors to merchants’ sites. This is the simple elegance of affiliate marketing–create a Web site, sign up as an affiliate with companies that sell products you like, then sit back and watch the money pour in. At least that’s the theory. But many affiliates make the one mistake that most hurts their business. They fail to pre-sell their customers.
Creating a Web site that is one big sales letter is not going to lead to huge sales. Why? Because visitors will resist your sales pitch no matter how enticing your Web site, and they will not likely click through to the merchant’s site. Even if they do click through, they will be faced with another sales pitch, possibly with some of the same wording. By selling you are actually hurting your chance to make a profit.
If this doesn’t make sense, keep in mind why people in the millions everyday go on the Internet–content. They want to learn something, or they are looking for help with a problem, or they have some other need.
People don’t go online to be confronted by a sales pitch. That’s why your affiliate site to be successful must create a sense of credibility by offering lots of interesting and informative content–articles, headlines, news, blogs, forums, free newsletters and email courses, and links to more content that might be of interest. These things will keep your visitors interested and they will then click through with pleasure to the merchant’s site in a mood ready-to-buy.
This is the beauty of the pre-sell. It’s this pre-selling that puts your visitor in a positive frame of mind, which leads to a sale. If you turn your visitor off in the beginning with an obvious sales pitch, it’s almost impossible to overcome that, and you’ve lost a potential customer.
There are two important things to remember to effectively pre-sell your visitors:
Carefully craft your site to the theme of your merchants’ products or services.
If you are signed up as affiliate with several dating sites, then your site should obviously be devoted to dating and getting people together, along with anything associated with relationships–flowers, candy, special holidays, jewelry, cards, or gifts. You name it. Be creative. Obviously a pitch for the greatest money-making opportunity won’t fit.
Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes.
Analyze your site with brutal honesty and try to understand how a stranger would feel navigating through. Is the site complicated and hard to figure out? Do all the links work? Does it have a central, specific theme? Does the site deliver valuable, appropriate content? Do you get a trusting feeling? Will it make the visitor more open to buy? If so, then you can safely recommend merchants to your visitor. People will usually only buy from someone they trust. And that should be you.
Pre-selling works because it’s a two step process. The first step is up to you by providing a content-rich, interesting site where visitors will feel comfortable. As you gain their trust, they will pass on to step two by clicking through to the merchant’s site. By now they are interested enough to buy, so they will not be turned off by the sales copy.
Let the merchant do the selling. Your role is to educate and help your visitors by providing answers to their questions or solutions for their problems through quality content.